Mashed Rutabaga

If someone told me a year ago that one day I’d be running, by choice, on a wind driven, bone-chilling fourteen degree morning, side stepping icy patches, with the crunch beneath my feet no longer of decaying leaves but rather snow and ice accumulations leftover from the weekend storm, I would likely have given said person a disgraceful look of disbelief.

I’ve always wanted to be “a runner” and I use the term with quotations because I’m not sure what actually makes someone a designated “runner.”

I don’t do marathons.

I don’t do half marathons.

I can count the number of 5K’s I have done on one hand.

But yet, my collection of spandex and moisture-wicking tops and ear warmers has nearly quadrupled since this time last year as I find myself incorporating running into my regular routine come rain or snow, wind or fog. Or even, that one time when I had to dodge an oncoming sheep. You just can’t make this stuff up.

And there I was, running along the river this morning, because I wanted to. Because it made me feel good. 

This time of year can certainly be challenging. Mile long to-do lists, stressful family gatherings, road rage from holiday travels, unpredictable frightful weather, more cookies and sweets and butter-laden dishes than one really knows what to do with.

I am a firm believer that the best way to make it through the holiday season is to make it a priority to lace up those sneakers or pop in that workout DVD or roll out that yoga mat and remind yourself of the vitality of your own body and the incredible stress-reducing effects of physical activity.

When we can feel good about ourselves – we are more likely to feel good about others – more likely to take better care of others and most importantly, when we feel good about ourselves, we can enjoy the many gifts that the holiday season provides aside, all glittery and sparkly and sugary things aside.

 It would have been really easy for me to share a sweet treat with you today. Like I’ve said before – cookies are just so easy to photograph. But this holiday I’ve chosen to focus on things other than all of the unhealthy, sometimes guilt-inducing desserts/dishes that I’m choosing not to make.

Instead, I’m going on morning runs – as mentioned above – late night walks under crisp skies with lights that twinkle better than any holiday light display, finding warmth in gingerbread tea and roasting up every kind of vegetable imaginable.

I couldn’t be happier about it.

I wrap presents with care. I spend entire afternoons surrounded by tissue paper, glue and glitter, producing some of the most thoughtful gifts, unlike anything Macy’s or Target could ever provide.

I’m rereading a favorite book of mine – The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin – and one of my favorite messages in this book is the author’s reminder to her self to “be Gretchen.”

 Someone could argue that by choosing not to indulge in all of the holiday sweets, filling this space with gingerbread and icing and sugar cookies I am somehow missing out. But really, I am choosing to “be Brooke” which has lead to an overwhelming feeling that I am really making the most of this holiday season, soaking it all in, drinking it up, feeling good about who I am.

 You can see, when I fall silent on here I tend to come back with a lot to say. Now on to the recipe.

 This simple side dish packs flavor and fiber. I can see it pairing nicely with roast beef or prime rib come Christmas Eve.

Mashed Rutabaga

1 Lb. Rutabaga, peeled and cubed into 1 1/2 inch chunks

1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth

1 clove garlic, minced

1 sprig of fresh rosemary

salt and pepper to taste

Place cubed rutabaga in a medium pot and fill with water until it is 1 inch higher than the rutabaga. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, until rutabaga is fork tender.

Meanwhile, mince garlic and chop fresh rosemary, set aside.

Once rutabaga is fork tender, drain and place in a medium bowl. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a handheld mixer, mix for about 5 minutes. Add in chicken broth, garlic and rosemary and mix another minute or so. The rutabaga should be mostly mashed, with just a few larger chunks left for added texture. Mix longer if you desire a smoother consistency.

Transfer to a prepared baking dish and place under the broiler until the top is golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.